The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Hollywood, Florida, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Direct access to a lovely stretch of public beach
  • 2 huge outdoor pools with food and beverage service
  • 18-hole golf course, 10 tennis courts, and athletic center with pool
  • 6 hotel restaurants with different types of cuisine
  • Full-service salon and spa with in-room massage services
  • Private cabanas available at the pools and beach
  • Fitness center offers classes and personal coaches
  • Great ocean views from select rooms
  • Golf and tennis shops, plus private instructors
  • Jet Skis, small catamarans, kayaks, and paddleboards available
  • Kids’ Club with babysitting services

Cons

  • Fee for in-room Internet (free in the lobby)
  • Prices for food and drink add up fast
  • Tennis courts and golf course are off-site (accessible by a free shuttle)
  • Fee to use tennis courts
  • Fee for self-parking; fee for valet parking
  • Pool areas can get crowded and noisy
  • No off-site restaurants or attractions within walking distance

Bottom Line

This massive 998-room resort may lack the personality and charm of its smaller competitors, but it has extensive features. Highlights include an 18-hole golf course, two huge outdoor pools with cabanas and bar service, a full-service spa, six distinct restaurants, rental Jet Skis and kayaks, and direct access to a lovely stretch of public beach. The rooms are somewhat drab for the price, but travelers stay here for the amenities, not the decor. With no restaurants close to the resort, guests should come prepared to pay the Diplomat’s inflated food prices. Those looking for a smaller -- and less costly -- version of the Diplomat might consider the Marriott Hollywood Beach, located about two miles up the coast.

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 Scene

Huge convention hotel that's a world unto itself.

Lobby at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Lobby at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

Not only is the Westin Diplomat the biggest hotel in Hollywood, Florida, but it’s also one of the top convention hotels in the country. With meeting space for a whopping 8,000 people, the property is often a blur of conventioneers. Fortunately, the sheer size of the hotel -- plus a designated wing for the Convention Center -- allows leisure and business travelers to coexist without much friction.

The enormous lobby is filled with palm trees, shiny marble floors, and a long fountain; it feels more like a high-end shopping mall than the first floor of a hotel. Three of the Diplomat’s six restaurants are located here -- Hollywood Prime Steakhouse, The Café, and BarSu -- plus a market that sells snacks and sandwiches.

For most guests, the main attraction lies just beyond the lobby, where the beach and two huge pools are located. During my visit the pool area was buzzing (though nowhere near it’s maximum capacity) with excited kids, sunbathers, and people eating at the poolside bar, Splash. Guests looking for extra peace and quiet were tucked away in tent-like cabanas on the area’s perimeter. Down on the beach, things were noticeably quieter and less crowded.

There’s not much nightlife at the hotel outside of the restaurants, most of which shut down around 11 p.m. Guests who want to stay out later can head to the bar and sushi restaurant, BarSu, or the sports bar, Rivals, which is located across the street via a pedestrian bridge.

 Location

Quaint beach town has plenty to do, but nothing within walking distance.

The hotel is located on a narrow barrier island, cut off from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway (though there are numerous bridges). This island runs from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, and it’s prime residential real estate. For this reason, the Diplomat is surrounded by beachfront condos, high-rise apartment buildings, and little else.

With no restaurants, shops, or nightlife within walking distance, car-less guests are left to explore Hollywood by taxi, water taxi, or the Hollywood Trolley. The water taxi departs from the hotel dock, located on the Intracoastal Waterway across the street. Riders can buy an unlimited day pass that allows them to hop on and off at stops in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. An announcer also educates riders on local history and wildlife along the way.

For only $1 the Hollywood Trolley will also take tourists to a dozen stops along Hollywood’s beaches and downtown. The trolley stops in front of the hotel five days a week and leaves every 30 minutes.

Hollywood offers a more relaxed, quiet beach vacation than neighboring Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Visitors come for the soft-sand beaches and the boardwalk -- a popular hangout featuring inexpensive restaurants, bars, and live entertainment.

  • 5-minute drive from the hotel golf course and tennis courts (free shuttle)
  • 6-minute drive from Hollywood Beach Broadwalk
  • 6- minute drive from Mardi Gras Casino & Racetrack
  • 6-minute drive to Harrison Street, lined with hip cafes, galleries, and bars
  • 6-minute drive to Young Circle Park, an area with an outdoor amphitheater
  • 7-minute drive to Hollywood Boulevard's many shops
  • 8-minute drive from snorkeling on Dania Beach
  • 8-minute drive from Aventura Mall
  • 10-minute drove from John U. Lloyd Beach State Park
  • 15-minute drive to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport ($13 shuttle; $35 taxi)
  • 15-minute drive from Aqua Sports Inc. (for scuba diving excursions)
  • 15-minute drive from Port Everglades (cruise ship port)
  • 20-minute drive to Fort Lauderdale
  • 27-minute drive to downtown Miami
  • 35-minute drive to Miami International Airport ($25 shuttle; $70 taxi)

 Rooms

Most rooms feel run-of-the-mill, but the views, beds, and bathrooms are above average.

The Governors Suite at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
The Governors Suite at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

The rooms are a bit drab and run-of-the-mill compared to the rest of the property, but all the essentials are there: fully stocked minibars, flat-screen TVs, Westin's signature Heavenly Beds, and good-sized bathrooms.

The hotel has seven room types that differ mainly by view and floor space, ranging from about 400 square feet to 710 square feet. The largest and most impressive rooms are Corner Suites, which have nice views of the ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, plus pull-out sofas. They are also the only rooms designed to sleep four people (every other room sleeps two).

Club Level Suites on the top three floors (33 to 36) come with Executive Lounge access. The lounge has an outdoor patio with excellent views and serves free breakfast in the mornings.

  • Fully stocked minibars, plus mini-fridges
  • Bathrooms with separate showers and tubs
  • Radios with CD players
  • 36-inch flat-screen TVs
  • 24-hour room service
  • All guest rooms are non-smoking
  • Jetted tubs (in Suites)
  • Pull-out sofas (in Corner Suites)
  • Balconies (in Deluxe and Grande Deluxe rooms)
  • Connecting rooms available
  • Rollaways available
  • Cribs available upon request
  • Fee for Internet access

 Beach

Nice public beach with rental chairs and umbrellas, but no food service

Beach at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Beach at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

The hotel sits on a lovely stretch of public beach, which is easily accessed by walking past the first floor pool area. The Diplomat has its own chairs, umbrellas, beach beds, and shaded cabanas available for rent, but there’s unfortunately no food or beverage service due to a citywide law.

Activities include beach volleyball, bocce ball, an oversized checkers board, and horseshoes. Rental Jet Skis, small catamarans, and kayaks are also available from hotel staff, and guests can head into the water directly from the beach.

The beach has soft sand and virtually no unsightly seaweed or trash. The Clean Beaches Coalition recognized Hollywood’s beach as one of Florida’s six cleanest beaches in 2012.

Despite the size of the hotel, the beach was relatively quiet during my visit, with plenty of empty lounge chairs and cabanas available.

 Pool

Two huge hotel pools, plus a third pool at the golf course

The Golf Location Pool at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
The Golf Location Pool at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

The hotel features two huge pools stacked on top of one another. The smaller of the two is the Infinity Pool, which has a circular glass window in the bottom, allowing guests to look down into the pool below. Likewise, people swimming in the lower-level Lagoon Pool can look up and see anything from bathing beauties to kids mooning each other for laughs.

The Infinity Pool has a six-inch shallow end for toddlers, and both pools have an accompanying whirlpool.

The general pool area is usually buzzing with excited kids, sunbathers, and people eating at the bar. Blue tents, or casitas, are available for rent next to the upper pool, and fancier indoor cabanas with TV and air-conditioning are available next to the lower pool. When this large hotel gets busy, the cabanas and casitas get snatched up fast, so guests should reserve theirs early.

The pool bar and grill, Splash, is located next to the lower-level Lagoon Pool. It has its own dining area on a terrace overlooking the ocean, and guests can carry food back to their lounge chairs and casitas. The most basic food and cocktail combo is at least $25, so don’t forget your Visa card.

Most guests are unlikely to visit the third pool, located five minutes away at the golf and tennis area. This pool is smaller and quieter than the main pools, and -- though it lacks food and drink service -- is a nice alternative for those seeking a more private place to swim.

 Spa

A new “Heavenly Spa” opened in 2013.

Spa at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Spa at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

The Westin “Heavenly Spa” opened at the main hotel in 2013.

  • 14,000 square feet of space, featuring 10 treatment rooms
  • Halotherapy salt steam room, Vichy shower, manicure and pedicure stations
  • Two-floor fitness center

 Family

Lots of family features, including a Kids' Club, babysitting services, and kids’ menus in five restaurants.

Kids Club at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Kids Club at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

Children ages four to 12 can be dropped off at the Westin Kids Club for full- or half-day sessions, and a “Kids Night Out” program looks after kids from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday nights. The club has a playroom, and staff members take children on excursions to the beach, pool, and other parts of the hotel. The camp is reasonably priced and includes snacks. Full meals are included with Friday night sessions and full-day sessions. The hotel has no in-room babysitting services, but can arrange for babysitters to come from a local company.

The Infinity Pool has a six-inch shallow end for toddlers. The beach is monitored by city lifeguards and has free kids toys, such as shovels and pails. All the restaurants also have kids’ menus, except for Hollywood Prime.

The most family-friendly rooms are Corner Suites, which have pull-out sofas and are designed to sleep four people (every other room type sleeps two, though rollaways and cribs are available in certain rooms). The hotel also has connecting rooms.

Parents with children under 12 should take advantage of the hotel’s Kids Pass program, which includes unlimited drinks and meals (from kids’ menus) for a flat daily fee of $18.

 Food

Six restaurants scattered throughout the property

Cafe at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Cafe at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

It’s easy to find something to eat at the Westin Diplomat. There are three restaurants located within the main lobby, one at the pool, one across the street at the hotel dock, and one at the golf and tennis location five minutes away. Guests in a hurry can also grab a snack or sandwich in the lobby market, Ingredients. Room service is available 24 hours a day.

The swankiest restaurant is Hollywood Prime Steakhouse, open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday within the hotel lobby. A bar, formal dining room, 15-person private dining room, and over 600 wines are available inside.

The Café is a casual restaurant accessed through the hotel lobby. It’s open for breakfast and lunch and serves overpriced versions of traditional entrees, like omelets, cereal, burgers, and wraps.

Rivals Waterfront Sports Grille is a traditional sports bar restaurant, located at the hotel’s private dock across the street on the Intracoastal Waterway. Guests can access the restaurant by crossing an elevated pedestrian walkway. Rivals opens in the evenings on weekdays and at noon on weekends. It’s also one of the only venues open past 11 p.m.

BarSu is open for dinner and doubles as the main lobby bar and a sushi restaurant. Aside from Rivals, it’s the only venue open past 11 p.m.

The pool bar and grill, Splash, is located next to the lower-level Lagoon Pool. It has its own dining area on a terrace overlooking the ocean. It serves a variety of cold drinks, cocktails, and typical bar food. Splash is open daily and closes around sunset.

Links Restaurant & Lounge is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the golf course. The daytime dining is casual, while the dinner dining is more formal. Pan-seared salmon is an example of a typical entree. Food is served indoors or outside on a terrace overlooking the golf course. A free shuttle leaves every 30 minutes to take guests to the golf course, located about five minutes away.

Having so many on-site restaurants is a treat for business travelers, who typically get reimbursed for meals, but vacationers on a budget should be wary. A family of four could easily spend $300 a day on food. Parents with children under 12 should sign up for a Kids Pass that includes unlimited drinks and meals (from kids’ menus) for a flat daily fee.

 Drinks

Plenty of wines and cocktails to go around

Rivals at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Rivals at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

With over 600 wines at Hollywood Prime Steakhouse, three bars, and a variety of beer and liquor in every minibar, guests will have ample drink selection.

Outside, Splash Poolside Grille & Bar serves an assortment of wine, beer, and cocktails by the glass or by the pitcher. Inside, BarSu -- the lobby bar and sushi restaurant -- serves wine, fruity cocktails, mojitos, and signature saki martinis.

A sports bar, Rivals, is located at the hotel’s private dock across the street. Rivals serves fruity, beer-infused martinis, wine, champagne, and beer. The bar opens in the evenings on weekdays and at noon on weekends.

BarSu serves dim sum and specialty drinks on weeknights from 5:30 to 7:30, and Rivals has a happy hour on Friday evenings.

 Services

24-hour room service, sports shops, and laundry service

Tennis Pro Shop at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Tennis Pro Shop at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
  • New Balance shoes, socks, and apparel lending program (for a fee)
  • Free shuttle to the golf course and tennis courts (leaves every half hour)
  • 24-hour room service
  • Dry cleaning/laundry service
  • Golf and tennis shops

 Golf

Championship, 18-hole golf course with instructors

Golf at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Golf at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
  • Championship, 18-hole course
  • 6,800 yard par 72 design
  • On-site Golf Pro Shop sells clothing and equipment
  • Golf carts are equipped with GPS to help navigate the course
  • Players can order food and beverages, delivered on the course
  • Private and small group lessons for all experience levels
  • Free shuttle transports guests to the golf course every 30 minutes
  • Course supports wildlife preservation; “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary”

 Physical Activities

Golf, tennis, and water sports -- for a price

Watersports at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Watersports at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

A fitness center is currently located five minutes away at the golf facility, but a new one is scheduled to open at the main hotel in 2013.

  • Rental Jet Skis, catamarans, and kayaks available on the beach
  • Fitness classes, such as yoga, Pilates, and spinning
  • Pontoon fishing boat charters from the hotel dock
  • 10 tennis courts located at the golf course (per player fees)
  • 18-hole golf course (free shuttle leaves every half hour; 5-minute ride)
  • Volleyball, bocce ball, and horseshoes on the beach
  • Golf and tennis shops
  • Golf and tennis lessons
  • New Balance shoes, socks, and apparel lending program (for a fee)

 Business and Conventions

Massive convention center can accommodate up to 8,000 guests.

Conference Center at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Conference Center at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
  • 200,000 square feet of meeting space
  • 50,000-square-foot Great Hall
  • Four ballrooms and 39 meeting rooms
  • Can accommodate up to 8,000 people
  • LEED certified convention center
  • Back of the house catering
  • Private dining available at Hollywood Prime and Rivals
  • Private events can be hosted on the hotel’s own yacht.

 Weddings

Great Hall and four ballrooms are perfect for giant weddings.

Ballrooms at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
Ballrooms at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

The Diplomat is known for its ability to host huge weddings. Many Indian ceremonies are held here because the hotel can accommodate live elephants and thousands of guests.

  • Receptions up to 5,000 people
  • 50,000-square-foot Great Hall, plus four ballrooms
  • Private yacht available for weddings
  • Private dining available at Hollywood Prime and Rivals
  • On-site pastry chef can accommodate special requests
  • Back of the house catering

 Celebrity Sightings

The Diplomat has a long list of celebrity guests, including Will Smith, President Obama, and Jerry Seinfeld.

The long list of celebrity guest includes:

  • Will Smith and his family
  • Hillary Clinton
  • President George Bush
  • President George W. Bush
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Julianne Moore
  • K. D. Lang
  • Lauren Hill
  • President Barack Obama
  • Jerry Seinfeld

 Eco-Friendly

Green certified convention center and recycling program

  • Convention Center is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
  • Most old furniture and mattresses are recycled or donated.
  • Program rewards guests for each night they decline housekeeping
  • A certified “Florida Green Lodging” hotel
  • In-room recycling bins

 Renovations and Upkeep

Ongoing renovations, plus a new spa and fitness center in the works

Originally built in 1958, the 39-story Diplomat was reconstructed from the ground up in 2002. In 2011 the furniture and carpeting were updated, and in 2012 the pool furniture was replaced and the lobby was renovated. The Westin “Heavenly Spa” and fitness center is scheduled to open in 2013. They are currently located at the golf course facility, an inconvenient shuttle ride away.

Despite ongoing renovations, some of more basic rooms look rough around the edges. During my stay I found a mysterious towel left on my balcony and a fair amount of dirt on the balcony floor. My sheets were also wrinkled and water spots were visible on the bathroom mirror. Minor offenses to some -- gross to others.

 Handicap

Basic ADA services, plus pool accessibility

The hotel has standard ADA compliant guestrooms, plus wheelchair accessible pool chairs.

 Bottom Line

This massive 998-room resort may lack the personality and charm of its smaller competitors, but it has extensive features. Highlights include an 18-hole golf course, two huge outdoor pools with cabanas and bar service, a full-service spa, six distinct restaurants, rental Jet Skis and kayaks, and direct access to a lovely stretch of public beach. The rooms are somewhat drab for the price, but travelers stay here for the amenities, not the decor. With no restaurants close to the resort, guests should come prepared to pay the Diplomat’s inflated food prices. Those looking for a smaller -- and less costly -- version of the Diplomat might consider the Marriott Hollywood Beach, located about two miles up the coast.

Things You Should Know About The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

Address

  • 3555 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood, Florida

Room Types

  • Club Floor Room
  • Club Floor Suites
  • Corner Suite
  • Deluxe Room
  • Diplomat Suites
  • Golf Location Room
  • Golf Location Suite
  • Grand Deluxe Room
  • Superior Room

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Nearby Hotels to Consider

Marriott Hollywood Beach

Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 1058
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Hollywood, Florida
Address: 3555 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood, Florida
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